What’s the Difference Between?

Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between certain medical professionals but these differences can be important to the medical care they provide. For instance, today, Jude Urbanski is going to guest blog on the difference between a phycisian’s assistant and a nurse practitioner. One thing to consider when writing a medical scene is… what is included in that person’s “scope of practice”. This is basically the laws that govern that person’s medical practice… what they can do and not do to a patient.

Welcome Jude!

I am a former nurse practitioner. In fact, I was among the first to receive prescriptive privileges in my state. I was a pioneer. I made the first waves. I loved my many years as a women’s health nurse practitioner. I worked with a wonderful group of OB/GYN doctors in Bloomington, Indiana at Aegis Women’s Health Care. They gave me their trust in a beginning era. We learned together about this new field.
Many years later, I’m blogging about differences between a nurse practitioner (NP) and a Physician’s Assistant (PA). While there are differences, I believe, foremost, each professional considers the patient a priority.
Both an NP and a PA is a finished product. They are not enroute to become a medical doctor. This is a concept patients and others find fuzzy. One, that after many years when patients continued to call me Doctor Judy, I simply acquiesced.
Each profession has stringent academic criteria. An NP must have a bachelors’ degree in nursing before achieving a master’s degree in a nurse practitioner specialty. The NP earns her advanced degree in a school of nursing. She or he provides medical care to patients in hospitals and other health facilities. NPs are responsible for recording and analyzing a patient’s history, performing physical exams, diagnosing, ordering appropriate tests, prescribing physical therapy or prescribing medications. The NP can practice independently, but generally has collaboration with a medical doctor.
Physician Assistants became popular after the Vietnam War. Many were former medical corpsmen who pursued additional education. Today a PA is generally, but not necessarily, a college graduate completing a two year program for physician assistants. Some PAs complete a master’s degree as do all NPs. PAs do not have to be a nurse first, but may have equivocal, if not even more, clinical training hours.
NPs are trained via nursing programs and PAs via medical programs. While this creates different models, each specialty does similar work. Their salaries are comparative. Each must pass certification exams and complete yearly continuing education requirements. Depending on state differences, each can usually prescribe medications.
I found a Google search as well as blog comments on the differences between NPs and PAs very modern day. I have to say, while I’ve loved being a NP and would probable do it again, the PA field looks promising!

Jude Urbanski (pen name for Judy Martin-Urban) is published in nonfiction and will have her first women’s fiction book, Joy Restored, released electronically by Desert Breeze in November, 2011. 

For many years, she worked as a nurse practitioner in women’s health. Now, a large family, writing as well as church and community work, keep her busy. She lives with her husband Conrad in the Midwest.
Jude is active in national, state and local writing groups. She teaches writing classes and is an inspirational speaker. She is a regular columnist for Maximum Living, a magazine focusing on spirituality and women’s health. Visit Jude at judeurbanski.blogspot.com or at her soon-to-come new website http://www.judeurbanski.com/.
Least known fact about Jude: Born at home and named for midwife Jude Flowers.

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